Monday, March 03, 2014

House color scheme

Haven't house blogged for quite a while, something to do with sub-zero weather and struggling through house projects in a drafty old house that has fuel oil heat. But now that spring is close, I feel like getting back on track, and what better than a fresh color of paint on the house? In the before photo on the left, you see the faded pea soup green main color and the historical dark green trim. While this scheme is good for some folks, I prefer more color. I've searched through historical house colors and picked a couple I'm quite fond of and used them in a color scheme for the house. I've also added a couple prairie style columns on either side of the front three windows. Under the windows, I'd like to carve a sign with the house number and hang centered below the windows. All this dreaming while it's 0 out with a 38" snow base. Not sure if I'm ambitious enough to finish off a project of this scale, but it would be fun. Otherwise, I do need to patch the cracks in the stucco and repaint this summer regardless.

"Ole, you finished with de paint dere? Ya Sven, de paint freezed on de brush before I can get it dere on de house..."

Friday, June 28, 2013

Wiring ... Whining ... Wiring ...

It seems like forever since I last posted and I've been busy. While dreams of new crown molding and freshly painted walls fill my head, I'm standing in the basement pulling out old knob and tube wiring and replacing it with new wiring. I'm getting there ... I'd say just about another week and I'll have it.

What I found when I decided to peek around the basement was newer 12/2 wiring connected to old knob and tube wiring. Old knob and tube wiring connected to newer 14/2 wiring at other places. Junction boxes filled with wiring from the 20's, 40's, 80's, etc. Light switches to nowhere, outlets with no grounding, outlets with no power ... it goes on and on.

I know enough about wiring after watching electricians work and reading electrical code to feel safe working with the wiring. I wouldn't suggest working with wiring to someone who never has, just to be safe. There, that's my disclaimer. Don't try this at home. lol. I wish the previous owners over the years hadn't tried this at this home!

So in the end, the electrical panel will be safe and everything will be new and properly labeled. I started with 90% of the house on two breakers using old knob and tube wiring and I'll end with peace of mind. The cost isn't too bad, maybe $200 to rewire the everything. But the electrical panel was full when I started and there were electrical lines to misc. outlets and a couple outside lights that weren't even working.

So, here's a breakdown of the breakers:
- Garage (double breaker)
- Exterior outlets and lights
- Sump pump
- basement freezer
- washer
- dryer (double breaker)
- living/dining lights and outlets
- sunroom/bathroom lights and outlets
- kitchen counter outlets and lights
- microwave
- fridge
- stove (double breaker)
- dishwasher
- 1/2 second floor bedrooms lights and outlets
- other 1/2 second floor bedroom lights and outlets
- basement lights and outlets

Once this is done, it's on to something fun! Anything not involving wiring, fishing wires through walls, outlets and switches is fine by me. :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I don't have a photo for today's post, but I've made some progress with the wiring. I now have lights and outlets in two bedrooms upstairs ... the master and the bedroom next to it that will be my daughter's room. The wiring had to be run from the service panel in the basement to the attic, then from the attic I was able to run the wires down through the walls to the outlets and switches. It was quite a job, but I'm so glad that I have this project as far as it is at this point. Now I can work on the drywall finishing and painting with lights, I won't be tripping over extension cords ... and best part, I now have attic access thanks to a pull down ladder I installed this weekend as well. I'll get to describing that project soon, but for now I'm basking in the glow of 60 watt bulbs. :) Oh, and all the lights and outlets in the house were knob and tube wired, half didn't work, and we only had overhead lights in two rooms too when we bought the place. Lots of wiring left .... but it will be worth it when it's all said and done. :)

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Twenty Two

Twenty Two ... 22 ... that's the number of sheets of 4x8 ft. drywall I've installed in the house so far. It gets to point where you have to do something else ... anything else ... to preserve your sanity. While all the drywall is hung and ready to be taped, mudded, sanded, primed and painted, I've embarked on another project. With us moving in just a couple weeks from now, I need to finish the floors now. I can work on finishing the wiring, woodwork and walls after we move in, but for now, this is the last major project then I can get on to my favorite part, the finishing touches. Here's a photo of the floors now. As you can see, there's the old finish and the awesome carpet glue all over sections of the floor that needs to get finished off. I've been busy sanding all weekend and can't wait to post photos of the finished product, but for now, here's an awesome photo of the mess. The unfinished woodwork is actually the doorway I discovered underneath the paneling that was on the wall. The house originally had two french doors into the sunroom, one from the living and the other from the dining room. I'll restore this feature to the house ... already it feels more open and airy ... or should I say dusty. :) 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

So why should I update my wiring anyway???

It's not that I don't enjoy historical knob and tube wiring. I absolutely love everything about historical homes. Except the wiring. First of all, it's not designed for modern appliances. Kitchens have fridges, stoves, microwaves, dishwashers and hopefully many outlets all around the countertops for even more appliances ... while the homeowners go out to eat for dinner lol. Then you have TVs, computers, stereos, video games ... they just didn't have all these crazy electronics back in the 1920's. But they weren't deprived by any means ...

... back in the days when my house was built people would 'call on' eachother, stopping by to say hi in the evenings and weekends and people would gather in the living rooms and chat. Homes had front porches and people would sit on them in the evenings and talk back and forth between the houses while the kids played in the yard and street. Life was simple back then, and people knew their neighbors and community meant more than just a sign by the side of the road. Nowadays, drive through any neighborhood and you'll see the familiar blue glow of the TV in the dark house where the owners sit inside with their doors locked and shades drawn. Everyone is more connected than ever nowadays, yet people don't even know their neighbors or 'call on' eachother anymore. I can't help but think about things like this as I work on the wiring in the house. Since I'm doing a lot of drywall work, it makes sense to upgrade the wiring as I go. Back in the day, an outlet in the corner was sufficient. But nowadays, outlets should be more plentiful and installed in the wall 12" from the floor.

Speaking of floors, we are preparing to sand the floors down and pulling out the old carpets. As you can see from the photos, it's a good thing we pulled out the carpets as a previous homeowner had an awesome idea. Instead of running the wiring in the wall where it should be, they ran it along the floor under the carpet. Not exactly safe if you ask me. I thought 'great! I have some updated wiring to work with!' When we bought the place, little did I know ....

... at least I found it and can fix it. That's what I do, fix the house, and wonder what it's like to have a neighbor 'call on' you. I'll take a hot cup of coffee and friendly conversation with a neighbor over a smart phone any day of the week. Maybe I'm just old fashioned. :)